Customers don’t need your content, they need your help.
So how do you ensure that your content is communicating with your prospects in the best way?
A content audit is a process for systematically reviewing your marketing collateral, it allows you to:
Collate all of your content - yes you might be surprised at just how much you have!
Review which pieces are currently performing well and engaging with your customer base.
Rate and grade your content.
Take logical corrective actions to make your content perform better.
Remove old and redundant materials.
Essentially you are looking at how to make your content work harder for both you and, more importantly, your customer.
By gaining greater visibility over marketing materials you already have, you will be better able to plan for the future, prioritise what you need to develop and identify which items can be repurposed, ultimately saving you time and resource by not having to start new content from scratch.
There isn’t a one size fits all model for how to execute your audit, every business and market is different. You will probably find that most discussions about content audits focus purely on digital and online content, such as web pages or social media posts. It’s true that online content is typically the way the vast majority of people learn about new products and services, it’s also true that you will have a lot more analytics available to help you review and judge the performance of your online content. However is online or offline content more important to your customers? It may be a mixture of both, you may find there are demographic differences, or it may differ based on product range.
Every business is different, so it’s really important that before you start planning your audit you understand the audience that you are trying to reach. By knowing your audience it will help you develop an on point brand ‘look and feel’ that resonates and appeals to your target demographics. It will also help you create and deliver relevant, helpful and engaging content through the most effective and efficient channels.
Developing marketing personas will help you better understand your target prospects. This will help you review if your current content adopts the correct tone of voice, addressing the specific needs, wants and challenges of each of your personas.
5 essential steps to audit your content:
1. Define the goal of the audit
There are a number of reasons why you may want to conduct an audit of your content. You may want to evaluate your content for consistent messaging, improve SEO by ensuring correct tagging, or determine which pieces are old or redundant.
In most instances a marketing audit is used to identify under performing pieces and compare them with pieces that have performed well.
You will also need to determine who will be conducting the audit. Typically, it’s best for the audit to be conducted by a third party that is not a member of your organisation. This eliminates any inherent biases and will result in the most constructive analysis.
2. Identify which content to include
Not all organisations have an inventory of their marketing assets. If you don’t already have one it’s always a good time to put one together. It will give you the opportunity to fully realise just how much content you have.
So what should you include? Obviously that comes down to time and budget. However, if you want to ensure that your customers get a consistent message, with the most relevant marketing pieces, then you need to run a comprehensive audit.
Take an omnichannel approach, reviewing not just your core marketing pieces, but consider videos, podcasts, blog posts, and also pieces that you may have given to distributors or channel partners.
3. Define your inventory data
Before compiling your list of content pieces you need to define which data sets to include in your content inventory, and define a method to capture the data.
Using a spreadsheet is a good start, however there are more in-depth digital asset management solutions you can invest in.
Some common data sets to use in you content inventory include:
Asset type - brochure, eBook, application guide, white paper etc.
Media type - printed/digital
Buying journey stage
For each piece of content answer the question - “how does this content help to solve my customer’s pain points?”
If you have any analytics data you will also want to include it, however, you will need to consider the time frame in which data was taken.
If you haven’t already got one, then now is the time to assign an index number to each asset piece. It will help you track the content in future audits, and will assist you in change management of your assets.
4. Establish a hierarchy of content value
Develop a system for grading your content pieces. This can be challenging to do. Typically you will want to consider your content’s engagement metrics, analytics and social media likes and shares. Consider using tools like BuzzSumo to track your social media engagement.
You may also review your content’s quality, you can do this by considering word count, topic relevance, and uniqueness.
Finally you can review your contents SEO value, do you use the correct keywords in the content piece, headline and subheading? Does the asset have the correct tagging?
Ultimately it’s up to you how you want to grade your content.
5. Audit your content
There are some really good tools to start to build an inventory of web based content. A good example is Screaming Frog.
As you begin to build your inventory you can start auditing your content.
When grading your content pieces don’t just work in a silo or rely wholly on your web analytics, ask sales, technical support and customer service for their valuable input.
You may want to consider reviewing your printing and trade show data to see which printed pieces had traction. If appropriate, reach out to customers and ask for their feedback.
In your audit you may want to benchmark against competition - what makes your content unique? How is your content performing versus your competition?
Once your audit is complete you can start to draw your conclusions.
Revise & update
It’s time to prioritise and make a plan.
You will want to keep content that is working well, review content that isn’t performing and identify potential gaps.
Ask yourself what can you learn from content that is performing well - are there similarities in high performing pieces? Do they perform well across all of your persona types? How can you build on the great performance of key content?
Before you pull the trigger and delete an under performing piece, consider the reasons why it failed. Does it need revising, was it badly launched, could it be republished, or could any data in a piece be presented differently.
Content atomization can help make a piece of marketing collateral work even harder for you. Atomizing content is when you break a key piece of content down into stand alone pieces that can fill gaps in your marketing funnel. An example may be taking the chapters of a white paper and turning them into a series of blog posts.
Atomization takes a core message behind a piece and allows you to spread that message across multiple platforms and in multiple ways, that will allow you to speak to different types of customer personas who may engage with different forms of content.
Content atomization is a resource efficient strategy, it allows for your content to have a greater reach, whilst being less effort than trying to create brand new content, saving you time, money and resource.
Performing a content audit can seem like a challenging task, however, it will give you the visibility you need to develop a clear and mindful content marketing plan that will produce truly helpful and engaging marketing pieces for your prospects and customers.
If you would like to discuss maximising your content engagement then contact Polymorphic Marketing.